MU Professor Tour 1

University Professor to Tour with The Front Bottoms

Erik Romero, an adjunct professor of music, is touring with The Front Bottoms as their bass player. What’s remarkable is that Romero, an accomplished music engineer, only became a bassist four years ago.

Currently an advanced record production professor for the University’s music department, Romero was asked to join this tour as a bassist earlier this summer. The United States tour will take the band across the nation and will finish at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall on Dec. 16.  The tour will then continue in the United Kingdom in February 2018.

The Front Bottoms are a rock band from New Jersey signed by Fueled by Ramen, a rock music record label owned by Warner Music Group.

They recently released a new extended play (EP), Going Grey, which was recorded and engineered by Romero, and has been described by Rolling Stone as “easygoing [in] nature [that] belies just how smart, insightful and genuinely moving [The Front Bottoms] oeuvre can be.” The national Going Grey tour began Oct. 19 in Boston, MA.

Joining his Lakehouse Music Academy co-worker Roshane Karunarante, also known as “Ro,” the keyboardist on the tour, Romero said, “Coming into this tour, I already knew someone and had a friend, and we are already having so much fun.” Romero will be sleeping on the tour bus and traveling with the band for the rest of this tour.  On tour, he will be playing a vintage Fender P-Bass, because he believes in “rock and roll forever.”

Romero began working at Lakehouse Recording Studios, then in Interlaken, in 2010 while completing his Orchestral Percussion education at The College of New Jersey. Beginning as a personal intern of Jon Leidersdorff, owner of Lakehouse, Romero has since become the head engineer, and has recorded, engineered, and produced well over 50 different artists. It was at Lakehouse in 2014 that Romero initially met the members of The Front Bottoms.

Romero was responsible for recording their 2014 EP, Rose, exclaimed by Music Existence as “very strong [with] a steady beat, strange with great lyrics and a chorus of voices singing along.”

“Erik makes a conscious decision to put his energy and time into the art he values and to help the artists he works with to take it to the next level,” said Leidersdorff.

Romero’s additional engineering successes include Lorde’s Yellow Flicker Beat, which reached #1 in New Zealand, and spent nine weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart; as well as Asbury Park musicians; Deal Casino, Toy Cars, Monmouth alumnus Colton Kayser and more.

Tim Panella, a recording engineer at Lakehouse, describes Romero’s recording process as unique and careful. “Erik approaches recording music in a very unique way,” Panella explained. “He is more interested in creativity and making the piece interesting as opposed to technically perfect. While producing, he takes the time to carefully craft each piece to bring out the best in it.”

Michael Grant, a senior music industry student, said, “Professor Romero finds the right equipment for the right band/artist to capture their sound and do it justice. He pulls back a curtain on the otherwise wizard-like role of a sound engineer and shoots straight. No cable, amp, or microphone [alone] can make great sounding music.”

Grant continued, “There’s no doubt that his wide reaching musical chops have helped make him the accomplished recording engineer that he is today, not to mention the touring bassist for The Front Bottoms.”

Romero has arranged his schedule so that his students have accessibility to him and the proper instruction throughout this time as well.

Romero said, “Being that the class is only once a week, and we have breaks like Thanksgiving, I am not missing too much.”

Owen Flanagan is a senior music industry student in Romero’s advanced record production class and has been working with Romero at Lakehouse almost every semester since his freshman year in 2014.

“Erik is a big asset to Monmouth’s music department,” said Flanagan. “He is so knowledgeable all around and provides a wealth of relevant information every class session. He is a ridiculously good musician/producer/engineer, and is always able to put his positive touch on every piece he works on.”

Romero began at Monmouth as an adjunct professor in 2014. Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music Department said, “[I] realized that having Erik, with his expertise, be in front of the students would be great, not only because of his expertise in audio production, but also because he was someone that could really relate to the students. We have a few rock star adjuncts in the Music Department, and I fully support Erik while he is on tour.”

 “My advice to Monmouth students it to get out and do it – play in places you have not played before with people you have not played with,” said Romero. “A lot of people are afraid to get out there because they don’t want to be bad. It’s okay to start bad; don’t give up.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Barbara Conover